In the summer of 1954, the players on the Texas A&M football team began a journey which would take them from perennial losers to the top of their conference in just a few short years. Their leader was their new coach, Paul "Bear" Bryant. Bryant took the job at A&M, and immediately put his stamp on the program. Instead of practicing in front of crowds of alumni and students, Bryant whisked the 111 players away on buses to the small town of Junction, over 300 miles away. There, in the heat of west Texas, Bryant punished the players both physically and mentally for 10 days, running off the weaker players and challenging all those who remained to become champions. Players practiced in 110 degree heat, without water. Players were forced to practice even when injured or risk losing their spot on the team. By the end of the camp, only 35 players remained. Those players, "The Junction Boys," were the core players which Bryant would mold into champions. In The Junction Boys, Jim Dent describes this training camp, and then follows the coach and his players as they make their way through the next three football seasons.
Paul "Bear" Bryant is often regarded as the best college football coach of all time. The Junction Boys is a look into the Texas A&M period of Bryant's life, and the players he coached. Readers will be stunned by the torturous conditions at the camp, and amazed at those who prevailed. Bryant is shown mostly as a stern, unforgiving leader. However, some insights into Bryant's reservations about his training regimen are also included. Each chapter starts with a classic Bryant quote.
Reviewed by pk, 8/01. Other reviews by pk.